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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2012): Pensions - overseas

Building bridges

A. Cadle

European Pensions, Feb. 2012, p.30-31

The Swiss pension system is one of the best in the world, but was hit in 2011 by falling returns on investments and funding levels due to volatility in the European and global financial markets. This article looks at how Swiss pension funds are looking to amend their investment strategies in order to combat the parlous state of the financial markets.

Contenders to the throne

L. Strongin Dodds

European Pensions, Feb. 2012, p. 42-43

London is the leading centre of Islamic finance outside the Muslim world, but the appetite for Shariah compliant products has diminished in the wake of the global financial crisis, the Arab Spring, and the European debt debacle. This article explores whether the availability of Shariah compliant products is gathering pace in Europe, or if the UK looks set to remain dominant.

Fighting the fear

I. Oudenampsen

European Pensions, Feb. 2012, p. 26-28

The European Commission is proposing and consulting on several regulatory changes for pension funds. One of the main pieces of legislation is the revision of the IORP Directive and in particular the possibility of the introduction of Solvency II for pension funds. Application of Solvency II to pension funds would introduce a set of EU-wide capital requirement rules. In its review of the IORP Directive, the European Commission has three goals in mind: how to encourage the set up of cross-border pension schemes; proposing a risk mitigation mechanism for pensions to ensure individuals receive the benefits they are entitled to; and looking at the way regulation relates to defined contribution schemes.

The Italian job

P. Davy

European Pensions, Feb. 2012, p. 32-34

Reforms to the Italian state pension will see retirement ages increase in line with life expectancy; contribution-based, rather than final salary based, benefits applied to all workers; a minimum of 20 years service required to claim a pension; and inflation indexation dropped for pensions above 1,400 a month. These reforms mean that Italians will have to save more for their retirement through private and occupational pension schemes. They have shown little interest in doing so to date.

Trends of income inequality among the elderly in Korea

Baeg Eui Hong and Hye Youn Kim

Asian Social Work and Policy Review, vol. 6, 2012, p. 40-55

The elderly in Korea are facing higher income inequality than any other age group due to divergent working patterns and low benefits from underdeveloped social security policies. This article investigates changes in income inequality within a cohort of householders during old age using data from the Urban Household Survey 1986-2006. The results show that income inequality within a cohort increases over time and that earnings and benefits from occupational pensions most influence the changes. Although public transfers have contributed to decreasing overall inequality, their real impact has been insignificant and eradicated by the rising inequality in earnings and other income such as occupational retirement pensions.

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